Controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik has been banned from speaking in public in Malaysia, days after he allegedly made racial remarks against the country’s ethnic Hindus and Chinese during a lecture. A circular was issued to all state-level police chiefs informing them about the ban, according to The Star Online.
“Yes. Such an order has been given to all police contingents, and this was done in the interest of national security and to preserve racial harmony,” Royal Malaysia Police corporate communications head Senior Asst Comm Datuk Asmawati Ahmad told the website.
On Monday, Naik was summoned to The Royal Malaysia Police Headquarters in Kuala Lumpur for the second time in recent weeks to record his statement in connection with the racial remarks.
During a public lecture in Kota Baru on August 3, the 53-year-old preacher allegedly made controversial remarks against Malaysian Hindus and Malaysian Chinese, prompting calls for his deportation to India.
Naik, wanted by Indian authorities since 2016 for alleged money laundering and inciting extremism through hate speeches, reportedly said that ethnic Hindus in Malaysia enjoyed “100 times more rights” than Muslims in India and that they believed in the Indian government more than the Malaysian administration.
In response to calls for his deportation to India, he reportedly suggested that Malaysian Chinese should leave the country as they were “old guests.”
Reacting to Naik’s controversial comments, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir on Sunday said it was “quite clear” that Naik wanted to participate in racial politics.
“He is stirring up racial feelings. The police will have to investigate whether it is causing tension; obviously, it is,” he said.
Mahathir added that as a permanent resident, Naik was not allowed to participate in politics.
“You can preach (religiously). But he wasn’t doing that,” he said.
“He was talking about Chinese going back to China and Indians going back to India. I have never said such things. But he did. That is politics,” the Malaysian Prime Minister said.
With PTI inputs